Haas team principal Guenther Steiner believes Renault was “a little desperate” when it protested against the legality of Romain Grosjean’s car in Italy because it was lacking performance itself.
Renault has struggled for pace in recent weeks, with neither car reaching Q3 in Japan as Carlos Sainz could only score a solitary point for the team. That result means Renault has picked up just 10 points from the past five races since the summer break — including Monza, where it successfully protested against the floor Haas was running on Grosjean’s car — and Steiner says the performance drop highlights why the French constructor took such action.
“I just see their performance has gone down, I don’t see it internally,” Steiner said. “I’m sure they know they have dropped their performance and not helped themselves so they can have nobody to blame. Obviously if (Nico) Hulkenberg is not happy with it, he voiced it… so if they have confused themselves even more that is good for us.
“I am not against it, but you could see they were a little bit desperate when they put in the protest against us in Monza. They will try anything they can do instead of focusing on themselves to get better.”
Steiner referred to quotes from Hulkenberg that back up his theory, with the German expecting Renault’s struggles to continue for the rest of the season as he feels the car and power unit have not been developed well enough.
“It is going to be a long end to the year, especially if you don’t have the sharp weapon you need to be in the fight,” Hulkenberg said. “So it won’t be the easiest of times and quite challenging.
“I am pretty sure we have not made progress. The car still feels the same as maybe 10 races ago. But have we lost? Have we made it worse? I don’t think so. I just think that others really bolted on some good upgrades and went faster — both on the engine and car side. We are getting the check now for it.”
Renault is eight points clear of Haas with four rounds remaining in the battle for fourth place in the constructors’ championship.